Archives for August 2015

Melissa’s Review: From a Killer’s Mind by Jason Helford

From a Killer's Mind

From a Killer’s Mind
written by Jason Helford
published by Jason Helford, 2013

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonSmashwordsGoodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I . . . I’ve never read anything quite like this book, and I’m honestly not sure if I enjoyed it. I had to stop reading several times (mostly right before bed) because I was afraid I’d have nightmares. You know how you sneak a peak at car accidents as you drive past, feeling guilty all the while? This book is like that. It’s awful and disgusting and gory and I couldn’t not finish it.

Helford’s got a bit of work to do with his prose, but if From a Killer’s Mind is anything like others in its genre, I’d be surprised if he can’t find a publisher after a few more rounds of editing. For starters, let’s get rid of about half the occurrences of “deep seated” whatevers and figure out a different way to say that. I’d also recommend ditching that pesky passive voice (you all know how I HATE passivity) and then just doing some general tidying up (for example: my mind is still reeling from John’s trip to the grocery store, not because of what he did, but because I’m pretty sure he never bothered to take all that frozen food out of his back seat).

As for the story, well, I’m left feeling both overwhelmingly sad and overwhelmingly disgusted. I’m pretty sure that’s what Helford was going for.


“John darkly wondered if he was yelling into an empty kitchen, screaming at nothing but himself, but he pushed that thought back down and continued.”

Would I recommend it: I’d definitely give this book a NSFW/NSFL warning, but if bloody, icky gore tossed with a giant dose of insanity is your thing you’ll love From a Killer’s Mind. 


About the book – from Goodreads: 
“Fans of Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs and Shane Stevens’ By Reason of Insanity may find a new favorite author here.”
-Kirkus Reviews

John has been a successful serial killer for his entire adult life, committed to his craft without detection or disruption. He’s spent years perfecting his process and meticulously planning out each kill, honing his abilities to horrible heights; however, when one kill doesn’t go as planned, his confidence is shattered, and his dark life starts down an even darker road, to either his salvation…or his ultimate downfall. John finds his private sanctum infiltrated by chaotic characters from the most unlikely of places, putting him through an existential crisis of the soul. As John loses control, his true crucible begins.

From a Killer’s Mind, the debut novel of writer Jason Helford, is a mind-bending, scary, and emotionally honest trip through the life of a serial killer, laying bare the killer’s soul for all readers to see. The remarkable twist at the core of this novel is something that will leave you open-mouthed, shocked, and completely hooked, until the very last page.



Chrissy’s Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Paper TownsPaper Towns
written by John Green
published by Speak, 2008

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
It was okay, and I wanted to see how it ended. But, for me, it just didn’t meet my expectations.

My first experience with John Green was The Fault In Our Stars, and I was blown away by it. (You can read my 5-star review here.) After I finished that book, I started looking for another Green book to read. I set my sights on Paper Towns. Then I heard it was going to be a movie. It had some great reviews, too. However, it didn’t live up to the hype and promise for me.

Let’s break it down. Margo is a selfish brat. Quentin is a lost puppy searching for something. Ben and Radar are the ever-faithful sidekicks. The story took a while to get into, and I found myself bored. The road trip was my favorite part. It was funny, and you could see these four friends doing this trip. The rest of the book . . . it was a bit unforgettable.


Would I recommend it: Meh. Even though I wanted to finish it, I wouldn’t recommend this one.


About the book – from Goodreads: 
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…




Blog Tour: The Legacy of Us by Kristin Contino (spotlight, giveaway)

The Legacy of Us banner

The Legacy of UsThe Legacy of Us
written by Kristin Contino
published by SparkPress, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book: Liz Moretti thought she knew almost everything about her grandmother, Ella, from her love of “The Golden Girls” to the perfect pound cake recipe. But when Ella passes away and Liz finds a cameo locket with a marriage proposal engraved inside (from a man who was not her grandfather), she realizes that sometimes a person’s secrets are discovered only after they’re gone.

On top of losing Ella, Liz’s career as a jewelry designer is stagnant and her love life lacks sparkle, too. When she reconnects with the one who got away, Liz thinks maybe things are finally starting to look up. But after a few drinks and a trip down a flight of stairs, Liz wakes up to realize the cameo is gone. Her ex offers to look for it, but so does Justin, the intriguing new guy in her apartment building.

While dealing with her feelings for two very different men and generally trying to reinvent her mess of a life, Liz finds answers and solace in Ella’s diary. The story of the cameo, and the relationship between her grandmother and great-grandmother, an outspoken socialite from Italy, inspires Liz to grow up and accept responsibility for her missteps. Eventually she must choose between the life she thought she wanted and the promise of something better.


About the author: Kristin Contino grew up in a world of writing and reading, which evolved into a career as a freelance writer, editor, and women’s fiction reviewer. Kristin enjoys spending time with her family and loves travel, photography and dreams of moving to her favorite city, London. The Legacy of Us is her debut novel.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap


This is my third Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap, and I am so excited to take part again this year!!!

(Check out my last two reveals here and here.)


The Swap Objective


Send your partner THREE books:


A book you love
A book you haven’t read but are interested in
A book from your partner’s wish list

(And you can also throw in extra goodies, too!)


Go over to Chaotic Goddess Swaps and check it out.
Sign-ups end August 24!



Boost It Tuesday! – August 18, 2015


Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free ChanceCandace’s Book Blog, & If These Books Could Talk for  Boost It Tuesday!


What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.


Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

Boost It Poster


As an added bonus, Candace, Kate, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!


For this week’s giveaway, head over to the If These Books Could Talk Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!


Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!

 if these books could talk


Back to School – Back to Books $250 Cash Giveaway

Back to Books

I am so excited to participate in this awesome giveaway!!! Good luck!!

Back to School – Back to Books $250 Cash Giveaway
August 17th to September 7th

Prize: Winner’s choice of $250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Gift Code

Sponsor List
I Am A Reader
Author Martha Reynolds
The Discerning Reader
Raven Haired Girl
DS Venetta ~ Author middle grade fiction
Heather @ Townsend House
Talia Jager, YA Author
Kimber Leigh Wheaton
TMBA Corbett
The Page Unbound
Author MK McClintock
Carolyn Cooper
Kindle and Me
Book Nerd Addict
Live Life Blog
Simple Wyrdings
Krysten Lindsay Hager author
Rockin’ Book Reviews
Here We Go Again…Ready?
Ann Swann – Suspense and more
Author Inger Iversen
Crystal’s Chaotic Confessions
Bella Street’s Time Travel Romance
Bonnie Blythe Pure Romance
Taylor Dean Books
Every Free Chance Books
LeahSay’s Views
My Book Self
A Tattered Copy
Glistering Bs Blog
Lori’s Reading Corner
Free Bookster
Kelly’s Lucky You
Chicas Love to Read
Hall Ways
Bound 4 Escape
Book Reviews and Giveaways
Author Wendi Sotis
Laurisa Reyes – Author



Giveaway Details

$250 in Paypal Cash (alternately the winner can choose a $250 Gift Code)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends September 7, 2015 — Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via PayPal. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



Gina’s Review: Balm by Dolen Perkinds-Valdez


written by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
published by Amistad Press, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
This was definitely not one of my favorite books. I don’t know if the author was trying to make the characters unlikeable, but I didn’t like any of them. I thought the story started promising but in the end was too depressing and fell flat. I was bored and ended up just skimming to try and finish it. I had high hopes for this book, but it didn’t leave me feeling much of anything.



Would I recommend it: Not particularly.


About the book – from Goodreads: The Civil War has ended, and Madge, Sadie, and Hemp have each come to Chicago in search of a new life.

Born with magical hands, Madge has the power to discern others’ suffering, but she cannot heal her own damaged heart. To mend herself and help those in need, she must return to Tennessee to face the women healers who rejected her as a child.

Sadie can commune with the dead, but until she makes peace with her father, she, too, cannot fully engage her gift.

Searching for his missing family, Hemp arrives in this northern city that shimmers with possibility. But redemption cannot be possible until he is reunited with those taken from him.

In the bitter aftermath of a terrible, bloody war, as a divided nation tries to come together once again, Madge, Sadie, and Hemp will be caught up in a desperate, unexpected battle for survival in a community desperate to lay the pain of the past to rest.

Beautiful in its historical atmosphere and emotional depth, Balm is a stirring novel of love, loss, hope, and reconciliation set during one of the most critical periods in American history.





Story Time with Sara: The Yummy Adventures of Celia & Cedric #1: Amazing Apples by Erin Kurt and Laara Exsnar



The Yummy Adventures of Celia and Cedric: Amazing Apples! (#1)The Yummy Adventures of Celia & Cedric #1: Amazing Apples
written by Erin Kurt and Laara Exsnar
published: 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
This book was not my favorite. There’s a lot of character introduction and background information given, but it sort of overshadowed the story itself. Also, I am the first to admit that I LOVE children’s stories that sneak learning into the story, but here there was no sneaking. In fact, there was no real story. There was no conflict or drama at all. It felt like a flimsy construct created for the sole purpose of delivering random science and health facts about apples. My favorite is how they were sitting at the dinner table and one child comments, “Did you know that apples have boron in them, which helps keep your bones strong?” Followed by, “Mom, can you remind us why Vitamin C is good for us?” I know my kids can totally relate to dialog like this . . . <eye roll> Further, the cover states that this is a “Read and Bake” series, so I was expecting there to be a recipe for the Apple Cake Celia and her Mom baked. I did not find it. It actually sounded yummy and I was interested in baking it with my kid . . . perhaps it was just missing from the file I was sent for this review. I think there may have been a formatting problem because there were no illustrations either.


Would I recommend it: Uh, as of right now I would say not really. I want to read some of the other books in the series and see how the characters and the stories pan out. I think the premise is a really cool idea, so I would be willing to give the series another shot, but I was really not a fan of this particular book.


About the book – from Goodreads: Celia is bored. And with everyone in her family busy she doesn’t know what to do…until her dad gives her a task that leads to her best day ever; the day she meets Cedric and their yummy adventures begin!



Guest Review: The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank

The Last Original Wife

The Last Original Wife 
written by Dorothea Benton Frank
published by William Morrow, 2013

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
Looking for a good, undemanding, beachy read? Dorothea Benton Frank’s The Last Original Wife is a great choice. A southern tale of marriage gone stale and a woman’s search for her roots, The Last Original Wife entertained me without making me dig. I enjoyed it.

Leslie is the last of her friends to be married to her first husband, Wesley—oh, yes: Leslie and Wesley: how’s that for cute? But some neglect on Wesley’s part segues into betrayal by omission: Leslie discovers her husband has neglected to mention the 22 million he squirreled away in their joint bank account.

How come I never have that kind of problem? 



Would I recommend it: If you like a good vicarious tale of come-uppence with a dash of gentle romance, you’ll enjoy The Last Original Wife.  It is a non-taxing, feel-good summer read.


~ Pam, guest reviewer & EFC Short Story Contest Winner ~


About the book – from Book Depository: Experience the sultry Southern atmosphere of Atlanta and the magic of the Carolina Lowcountry in this funny and poignant tale of one audacious woman’s quest to find the love she deserves. Leslie Anne Greene Carter is The Last Original Wife among her husband Wesley’s wildly successful Atlanta social set. But if losing her friends to tanned and toned young Barbie brides isn’t painful enough, a series of setbacks shake Les’s world and push her to the edge. She’s had enough of playing the good wife to a husband who thinks he’s doing her a favor by keeping her around. She’s going to take some time for herself–in the familiar comforts and stunning beauty of Charleston, her beloved hometown. And she’s going to reclaim the carefree girl who spent lazy summers with her first love on Sullivans Island. Daring to listen to her inner voice, she will realize what she wants . . . and find the life of which she’s always dreamed.The Last Original Wife is an intoxicating tale of family, friendship, self-discovery, and love that is as salty as a Lowcountry breeze and as invigorating as a dip in Carolina waters on a sizzling summer day.



Chrissy’s Review: Lost in London by Cindy Callaghan

Lost in LondonLost in London
written by Cindy Callaghan
published by Aladdin, 2013

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
I really did. I read it in a few hours (I’m sure it will take your young reader a bit longer), and I was completely hooked from start to finish.

Jordan is 12 years old and about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime. I wish I had these opportunities when I was younger. She got to spend a bit of time in London as an exchange student. Of course you have the host family daughter who is Jordan’s age not really want to have to hang out with her. Caroline (the daughter) was a bit of a priss, and there were times when I really didn’t like her. But we have all had friends like that at some point in our lives. The friend who puts on airs and thinks she’s better than everyone else. But who can actually let loose and be “normal” when she doesn’t have an audience. Caroline’s friends were great. I loved that they wanted to hang out with Jordan and see the sights. My favorite scene is the one in the dungeons. It made me chuckle.

There is a bit of a mystery going on as well that Jordan and Caroline get unintentionally linked with. Is it farfetched? A bit, but it works for this book and audience. All in all, this a great adventure for your young daughters. And you will enjoy it, too.


Would I recommend it: I sure would! These are fun books, and I can’t wait for my daughter to read them.


About the book – from Goodreads: 
A tween’s foreign exchange experience lands her in London luxury—and some hot water as well!

Twelve-year-old Jordan isn’t unhappy, but she’s definitely bored. So when she gets the chance to take part in a London exchange program, she’s thrilled to ditch her small town in Delaware and see the world across the pond.

Unfortunately, Jordan’s host sister in London, Caroline, isn’t exactly enthusiastic about entertaining an American girl. Despite the chilly welcome, Jordan finds herself loving the city and Caroline’s group of friends, who are much nicer than Caroline herself.

And then a major misstep leaves Jordan and Caroline trapped together overnight—inside Daphne’s, the world’s largest department store. Given they have complete access to all the fancy shoes, designer dresses, and coolest makeup around, there are worse places to be stuck. But when the girls’ fun has not-so-fun consequences, Jordan’s wish for excitement abroad turns into a lot more than she ever bargained for…